Daniella Levine, MPP ’21

As my time at Heller is slowly drawing to a close, I have been reflecting a lot on what I’ve learned over the last year and half. At some moments, it’s hard to conceptualize who I was before this program. I was curious how my peers were processing as well, so I presented them with a simple question, what advice do you want to give your first semester self? Here is what some of them had to say:

“When it comes to exploring new policy areas, follow the fun! I know that a lot of us come in with an idea of what we’re going to do, but try to embrace the new and potentially unfamiliar places that your research and curiosity take you!” Adam Jones, MPP ’22

“I would urge first semester me to look outside of the program-specific classes to find other options that may be intriguing! Talk to second years to find out classes they really enjoyed and do not be afraid to look outside of MPP/Heller classes.” Hannah Orbach-Mandel, MPP ’22

“Trust yourself and the process; you got in for a reason and deserve to be here.” Sierra Dana,  MPP ’22

“I would say ‘get to know your classmates/cohort’ because I’ve learned as much from them as I have from my professors and they have been a great support system. ” Sasha Himeno-Price, MPP ’22

“This is pretty generic, but I wish I had stayed true to my interests and goals for the program, and committed to seeking out resources across Heller to explore those further. I found it easy to get sucked into weekly assignments and feel like I have not made the most of the larger landscape of people, research, sources, etc. that the school has to offer!” Lydia Slocum, MPP ’22

“I would tell myself that it is okay to not know your specific policy interest yet and that the program helps you figure all of that out – which you will.” Louisa Duggan, MPP ’22

“My advice to first semester self would be to prioritize rest, the work will always be there – Rose Farrell MPP, ’22

“Do not be afraid to ask questions and engage with your professors.” – Kerin Miller, MPP/MBA 22

Finally, I would like to add my own personal anecdote, some words I wish I followed as a first semester student: I came to Heller for gender policy, as you my have read in my previous posts, and when I first started, I was so intimidated by my peers who all had particular interests within their policy areas — and here I thought I was already ahead of the game because I wanted to study gender policy! Do not ever let imposter syndrome get the best of you and do not let yourself feel small alongside your peers. The impact you will each make is tremendous.